• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Global standards allow sugar, honey in Nestle’s Cerelac – NAFDAC

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has issued a statement clarifying that Nestle’s addition of sugar and honey in Cerelac is allowed under local and international food standards.

The reaction follows findings by a Swiss àc investigative media, Campaigners Public Eye, which revealed that Nestle adds sugar and honey to infant cereal and milk products sold in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The results of samples tested at a Belgian laboratory show that added sugar or honey were present in Cerelac, a cereal-based meal for six months to two years old.

Nido follow-up milk not registered in Nigeria

The same ingredients were also present in Nido, a follow-up milk formula for toddlers aged one to two.

According to the findings, Nido Kinder 1+ products sold in South Africa, Nigeria, and Senegal all contained nearly 1g per serving.

NAFDAC however says the Codex Alimentarius International Food Standards (Codex) and the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) allow for limited amounts of sugars in cereal-based foods meant for infants over six months old, the agency stated.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) implements the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Food Standards Programme.

This program develops international food standards, guidelines, and codes of practice to protect consumer health and ensure fair international food trade. Nigeria (NAFDAC) is an active participant in these international food standards.

“The range of Nestle Cerelac infant cereals distributed in Nigeria are duly registered with NAFDAC in line with the Nigerian Industrial Standard for Foods for Infants and Young Children.

“These standards permit the addition of sucrose, fructose, glucose, glucose syrup or honey to products consisting of cereals which are or have to be prepared for consumption with milk or other appropriate nutritious liquids, provided the amount of added carbohydrates from these sources shall not exceed the stated levels of 1.8 g/100 kJ (7.5 g/100 kcal); and specifically the maximum level of added fructose shall not exceed 0.9g/100kJ (3.75g/100kcal),” the agency stated.

“For cereals with an added high protein food prepared for consumption with water or other appropriate protein-free liquid, carbohydrates are added, provided the amount of added carbohydrates from these sources shall not exceed 1.2 g/100 kJ (5g/100 kcal). Specifically, the maximum level of added fructose shall not exceed 0.6g/100kJ (2.5g/100kcal).”

The agency assured the public that Nestle Cerelac infant cereals, unlike Nido, are duly registered and meet strict safety and quality standards.

It emphasized that Nido follow-up milk formula, also a product of Nestle, is not registered and not found circulating in the country.

It further assured that infant and young children’s foods are regulated with keen focus, given the vulnerability of the target population and measures are in place to monitor and enforce compliance with necessary regulations.